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The Demand for Social Approval and Status as a Motivation to Give


  • Jeroen van de Ven


The aim of this paper is to explain gift giving as due to a demand for social approval and status. In a simple framework we are able to account for a number of stylized facts. These are that gift giving is often reciprocal, that gifts tend to be inadequate, and that gift giving is sometimes reduced after a monetary compensation is offered. The implication for the interaction between gift giving and the market institution is that implementing price incentives in a nonmarket environment can be welfare-decreasing.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeroen van de Ven, 2002. "The Demand for Social Approval and Status as a Motivation to Give," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(3), pages 464-464, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200209)158:3_464:tdfsaa_2.0.tx_2-t

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    3. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Laury, Susan K., 2002. "Private costs and public benefits: unraveling the effects of altruism and noisy behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 255-276, February.
    4. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    5. Arnott, Richard & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1991. "Moral Hazard and Nonmarket Institutions: Dysfunctional Crowding Out or Peer Monitoring?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 179-190, March.
    6. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    7. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
    8. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
    9. Kranich Laurence, 1994. "Gift Equilibria and Pareto Optimality Reconsidered," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 298-300, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dipankar Purkayastha, 2004. "A theory of reciprocal gifts," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 32(4), pages 312-319, December.
    2. Principe, Kristine E. & Eisenhauer, Joseph G., 2009. "Gift-giving and deadweight loss," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 215-220, March.
    3. Platteau, Jean-Philippe & Sekeris, Petros G., 2010. "On the feasibility of power and status ranking in traditional setups," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 267-282, September.
    4. Fellner, Gerlinde & Lünser, Gabriele K., 2014. "Cooperation in local and global groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 364-373.
    5. Fellner, Gerlinde & Lünser, Gabriele K., 2008. "Cooperation in local and global groups," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 256, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General


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